Primary school places: Have your say

Students from Gascoigne primary school in Barking.

Students from Gascoigne primary school in Barking. - Credit: Archant

As primary school children head back into school after six weeks’ holiday, the London Assembly wants to hear about parents’ experiences of finding school places.

The survey comes as Gascoigne Primary School in Barking - labelled London’s biggest primary - welcomes 1,200 students through its doors.

Barking and Dagenham has one of the most critical situations regarding school places across London.

The number of children entering the school system at reception level in the borough is projected to increase by 672 by September 2020 - the equivalent to 23 forms of entry.

At Gascoigne Primary, to cope with the rising pupil numbers they are considering introducing a three-day school week, where half the pupils would go to school from Monday to Wednesday and the other half from Thursday to Saturday.

Another possibility is a shift-system where students either go to school from 8am until 2pm or from 2pm until 8pm.

As part of the London Assembly Education Panel’s investigation into the provision of primary school places in the capital, it is looking to hear the real stories behind the statistics.

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On September 19 it will hold its first meeting on school places (which is open to the public) and will discuss how to meet London’s growing population over the next decade.

Jennette Arnold, chair of the Education Panel, said: “Starting school for the first time can be an exhilarating and scary time for pupils and parents alike. That’s why it is so important that young Londoners have a place at an appropriate local primary school to minimise the travel times and ensure a parent can be close at hand if needed urgently.

“We want to hear from parents and pupils who’ve been though the process of finding a local primary for their children. Has the process worked well for them, could it be improved and how difficult was it to get the right place for their child?

Parents can send details of their experiences by email to laura.pelling@london.gov.uk.

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